It looks like RealNetworks has decided to copy Napster and offer a "To Go" service for their Rhapsody music subscription offering. Of course, since the various online music stores can't agree on a standard technology, you're fairly limited in exactly where those songs can actually "go." At the same time, just like with Napster, anyone who stops paying loses all access to the songs they downloaded -- which isn't very appealing. It shouldn't be long, though, until someone figures out how to free up those songs. In the meantime, the marketing promotion that RealNetworks has decided to go with is to hype up the fact that they're now offering 25 free songs per month for non-subscribers. The details, however, show that it's not 25 free songs -- but 25 free song listens. In other words, you can download a single song and listen to it 25 times, or listen to 25 different songs -- and you've used up your quota. Not quite as interesting as actually offering 25 free songs. In the Reuters story on this new service, there's a confusing statement that "costs for running the service will be offset by Real's business relationship with Google Inc. and a new sponsorship pact with DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler." So, on top of subscription fees and limited uses for the rented music, you can also expect plenty of ads.
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